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Shared Success

    I used to wonder how VBS got its name: Vacation Bible School.  Having completed our 8th annual event, I’ve got a good idea now.  When it’s over, you need a vacation!

    Our 2022 VBS on “Share the Gospel” was a tremendous success for many reasons.  First, the numbers speak for themselves.  The attendance count was 165, 201 (new record), 179, and 179.  There was considerable interest and enthusiasm all week long.  Our people are to be commended for their support and for making certain their children and grandchildren were here.

    Second, these numbers were not the result of offering free food, daycare, face painting, or pony rides.  This past week was all about the B-I-B-L-E.  We sang about it, read from it, talked about it, and even memorized part of it.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).  If just one child remembers these words and lives by them for the rest of their life, it will have been worth it.

    Third, there was success in working together.  From planning to decorating to cutting to coloring to organizing to teaching to assisting to acting to singing to tearing down, everyone had their place.  And to remove just one of the links in the chain of workers would lessen the effectiveness of this past week.  We should all thank God to be surrounded by such willing laborers.

    Since “The Gospel is For All,” we must be ready to “Share the Gospel” with all.  This was instilled during VBS through four conversion accounts in the book of Acts.  

    Day One: Cornelius.  Centuries had awaited the events of Acts 10.  All the way back to when God promised Abraham, “in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 22:18).  Under the Mosaic covenant, the Hebrews were God’s special people for a special purpose.  They were to be separate from the Gentiles.  But once the promised Messiah fulfilled this purpose and all the prophecies, He sent the apostles to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).

    Could the Gentiles really be saved?  Would God accept them and forgive their sins and call them His children, too?  And can He do the same for all?  “My God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do.  FOR YOU!”

    Day Two: the Philippian Jailer.  On the 2nd  missionary tour, Paul and Silas received a vision of man from Macedonia and concluded that God wanted them “to preach the gospel” there (Acts 16:10).  At the first city they came to in the district, Philippi, they were falsely accused, tortured, and thrown in prison.  How would they ever preach to these people now?

    “But about midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (16:25).  They kept shining their lights.  Even with their feet in the stocks, they refused to hide it under a bushel or let Satan (blow) it out.  All around the prison cell.  When we continue to be a light in dark circumstances, someone might see the hope within us and ask, as the jailer did, “What must I do to be saved” (16:30)?

    Day Three: the Ethiopian Eunuch.  Philip can be overlooked in Acts.  Peter preached the first gospel sermon to the Jews and to the Gentiles.  Paul took the gospel to the ends of the earth.  But Philip taught in the villages of the Samaritans and in the chariot of the eunuch in Acts 8.  He listened when he was told to go, looked for an opportunity, and was prepared when it came along.

    We have to keep the gospel chariot rolling along.  It’s easy to stop and pick up a brother or sister.  But there are sinners in the way who need us to “preach Jesus” to them (Acts 8:35).  Let’s run to these opportunities and not tag along behind.

    Day Four: Lydia.  Back in Philippi, Paul and Silas found a group of women praying at the riverside on the Sabbath.  When Paul spoke to them, Lydia listened “and the Lord opened up her heart to pay attention to what was said” (Acts 16:14).  She was so eager to hear, she hung on every word and then responded to the gospel.  Like Cornelius, the jailer, and the eunuch, Lydia was baptized.

    There is a danger of being discouraged to share the gospel today.  We might be tempted to think that no one cares or will listen.  But God has called us to preach the gospel to all.  You’ve got to “tell everybody that you love my Jesus, tell everybody that you love my Lord.  They need to know that you love my Lord!”

    Sometimes it takes children to remind us of what’s most important. No wonder they are so precious in His sight.